Hard Drive and Solid State Media End-of-Life Destruction

August 27, 2018 at 2:36 pm by SEM

Where do hard drives go when they die? You can’t just toss them in the trash. There’s too much sensitive information on them that could result in significant liabilities. So what should you do? Before you can decide what to do, you also need to identify the sensitivity of the information and type of media that needs to be disposed.

Information Types

While there are many acronyms and levels of information, it’s actually reasonably simple if you break it down into two categories. The first high security information, which is information that is typically found in the highest levels of government. So sensitive that it may pose a threat to the defense of our country. The second is sensitive information. In today’s world where criminals are trying to steal identities or proprietary information, virtually all information is now sensitive. This is most applicable in the health care, financial, banking and retail industries as well as education and state/local governments.

Media Formats

Once you have categorized the type of information, you need to determine how the data is stored? High security and sensitive information is found on a wide variety of storage devices – the bulk of which is either stored magnetically on magnetic media formats like hard disk drives and back-up data tapes or stored on chips found on a solid state devices like an SSD drives, thumb drives, cell or phones.


Means of Destruction

While there are a variety of methods to erase data such as degaussing magnetic media or implementing an erasure software program, in the end, the most effective method is to combine the data erasure with a method to physically destroy the media. One such physical destruction method is the use of a hard drive shredder.

But do I need a shredder that is designed for platter based magnetic drives and another one for solid state drives?

Not necessarily.

While systems that are designed specifically for either platter based drives or storage chip based devices are certainly highly efficient, a combo unit, like the SEM Model 0315 HDD/SSD COMBO shown here, deploys two separate openings that feed cutting chambers designed to effectively shred either a magnetic platter based HDD and/or a solid state chip based device. The magnetic media HDD side of the shredder will reduce the media to a particle size that is as small as .75” while the other side is designed to shred the solid state device down to .375” (9.5 mm), small enough to insure that all of the storage chips on the media are destroyed. Other combo units with greater throughput capacity are also available here.

SEM 0315 Combo

What Solution is Best?

Once you have identified the type of information and the formats in which the data is stored, you can make an informed decision of which solution best meets your end-of life data storage requirements. If the bulk of your media is either magnetic media or solid state media, consider a system designed specifically for that form of media. However, if your organization stores data on both forms of media, an all-in-one combo system that effectively shreds both may be the answer.

Don’t forget SEM is always here to help guide you through the decision making process. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us today!